Google’s AI Still Giving Idiotic Answers Nearly a Year After Launch


Why is it still so crappy?

Beta Testing

Despite having been in public beta mode for nearly a year, Google’s search AI is still spitting out confusing and often incorrect answers.

As the Washington Post found when assessing Google’s Search Generative Experience, or SGE for short, the AI-powered update to the tech giant’s classic search bar is still giving incorrect or misleading answers nearly a year after it was introduced last May.

While SGE no longer tells users that they can melt eggs or that slavery was good, it does still hallucinate, which is AI terminology for confidently making stuff up. A search for a made-up Chinese restaurant called “Danny’s Dan Dan Noodles” in San Francisco, for example, spat out references to “long lines and crazy wait times” and even gave phony citations about 4,000-person lines and a two-year waitlist.

Hallucinations aren’t SGE’s only problem, however. Even when it does cite real websites as sources, the quality of those sites is often suspect. Per an analysis provided to WaPo by the SEO platform SE Ranking, the AI-informed search beta’s most-cited website is the ever-dubious Quora, the social question-and-answer website that provided the egg-melting response Futurism reported last September.

Shoddy Accounting

Calculating financial totals also seems to be something of a sore spot for SGE, too.

According to the report, normal Google search listed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth at a single and reasonable total: $169.8 billion USD. But when WaPo asked SGE the same question, it gave a shockingly bizarre breakdown that didn’t make any sense: “$46.24 per hour, or $96,169 per year.”

“This is equivalent to $8,014 per month, $1,849 per week, and $230.6 million per day,” the AI-powered search beta’s response continued. If you sum up those disparate numbers, they don’t add up at all.

The company seems to have updated some of its source information and removed SGE on others entirely. For instance, when searching Zuckerberg’s net worth today, it gives the latest total of $170.3 billion USD — and doesn’t give you the option to use generative AI to find out more.

While Google claims that SGE is opt-in only, the blog Search Engine Land revealed last week that it has begun making the generative AI option default even for those who haven’t chosen to use it. As Google told the blog, it has begun doing this only for “more complex” queries or those “where it may be helpful to get information from a range of web pages.”

With its one-year birthday coming up, it’s clear that SGE still has tons of problems — and it appears that Google is slowly bringing it into wider search results regardless.

More on Google: Google Quietly Paying Journalists to Generate Articles Using Unreleased AI


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